exonerate

verb
ex·​on·​er·​ate | \ ig-ˈzä-nə-ˌrāt How to pronounce exonerate (audio) , eg- \
exonerated; exonerating

Definition of exonerate

transitive verb

1 : to relieve of a responsibility, obligation, or hardship
2 : to clear from accusation or blame

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Other Words from exonerate

exoneration \ ig-​ˌzä-​nə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce exoneration (audio) , eg-​ \ noun
exonerative \ ig-​ˈzä-​nə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce exonerative (audio) , eg-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for exonerate

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for exonerate

exculpate, absolve, exonerate, acquit, vindicate mean to free from a charge. exculpate implies a clearing from blame or fault often in a matter of small importance. exculpating himself from the charge of overenthusiasm absolve implies a release either from an obligation that binds the conscience or from the consequences of disobeying the law or committing a sin. cannot be absolved of blame exonerate implies a complete clearance from an accusation or charge and from any attendant suspicion of blame or guilt. exonerated by the investigation acquit implies a formal decision in one's favor with respect to a definite charge. voted to acquit the defendant vindicate may refer to things as well as persons that have been subjected to critical attack or imputation of guilt, weakness, or folly, and implies a clearing effected by proving the unfairness of such criticism or blame. her judgment was vindicated

Where does exonerate come from?

We won't blame you if you don't know the origins of today's word. Exonerate derives via Middle English from the past participle of the Latin verb exonerare, meaning "to unburden," formed by combining the prefix ex- with onus, meaning "load" or "burden" (onus itself lives on with that meaning in English). In its earliest uses, dating from the 16th century, exonerate was used in the context of physical burdens—a ship, for example, could be exonerated of its cargo when it was unloaded. Later it was used in reference to any kind of burden, until a more specific sense developed, meaning "to relieve (someone) of blame."

Examples of exonerate in a Sentence

the results of the DNA fingerprinting finally exonerated the man, but only after he had wasted 10 years of his life in prison
Recent Examples on the Web Prosecutors also failed to provide video evidence that could possibly exonerate him, Reuters reported. Fox News, "Former Marine gets 9-year Russian prison sentence over drunken assault he claims to not remember," 31 July 2020 Yet by demonizing technology, these projects oddly exonerate the people behind that technology. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Why are all these science-fiction shows so awful?," 30 July 2020 The show, to be available exclusively on Spotify, will highlight the work of the nonprofit legal organization that seeks to exonerate people who have been wrongly convicted. ... Benjamin Mullin, WSJ, "Kim Kardashian West Lands Podcast Deal With Spotify," 17 June 2020 Stormer says police tried to argue later that Salcido’s cause of death was due to excited delirium in an effort to exonerate officers. Katie Wedell And Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "'Excited delirium' cited as factor in many fatal police restraint cases. Some say it's bogus.," 14 June 2020 But Mueller said his investigation did not exonerate Trump. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Ex-deputy AG Rod Rosenstein defends oversight of Russia probe but acknowledges flaws in FBI surveillance," 3 June 2020 Hillary Clinton used an unsecured Internet server to conduct the business of the United States State Department, destroyed thousands of subpoenaed documents, and Comey, in spite of mountains of evidence of criminal wrongdoing, exonerated her. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "'James Comey is a national disgrace': Charlie Daniels torches former FBI director and 'rogue' media," 15 May 2020 As a judge is expected to soon set a date for Lori Loughlin's trial, her attorney is claiming she's been exonerated by new evidence. TheWeek, "Lori Loughlin's attorney claims new evidence proves her innocence," 27 Feb. 2020 But the grounds on which he will surely be exonerated are also not in doubt. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "Whatever He Wants," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exonerate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exonerate

1524, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exonerate

Middle English, from Latin exoneratus, past participle of exonerare to unburden, from ex- + oner-, onus load

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Time Traveler for exonerate

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The first known use of exonerate was in 1524

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Statistics for exonerate

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Exonerate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exonerate. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for exonerate

exonerate

verb
How to pronounce exonerate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of exonerate

formal : to prove that someone is not guilty of a crime or responsible for a problem, bad situation, etc.

exonerate

transitive verb
ex·​on·​er·​ate | \ ig-ˈzä-nə-ˌrāt, eg- How to pronounce exonerate (audio) \
exonerated; exonerating

Legal Definition of exonerate

1 : to relieve especially of a charge, obligation, or hardship
2 : to clear from accusation or blame — compare acquit, exculpate

History and Etymology for exonerate

Latin exonerare to relieve, free, discharge, from ex- out + onerare to burden, from oner-, onus load

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